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The popular monsignor and altar boys


CEBU, Philippines Here in the cradle of Asia's lone Catholic stronghold, the Rev. Cristobal Garcia is one of the most prominent faces of the church.

It's a far cry from his despair of 20 years ago, when the Dominican religious order expelled him after a nun told police that an altar boy had been found in his bed in a Los Angeles rectory. After he was accused of molesting two altar boys in their early teens, the priest fled to his hometown Cebu Archdiocese which, despite a warning from the Dominicans, put him to work anyway, with children, and persuaded the Vatican to honor him with the title "monsignor."

Respected leader

Cebu Cardinal Ricardo Vidal also has allowed Monsignor Garcia to form a monastic religious society, whose young male recruits call him their "supreme motivator." The Society of the Angel of Peace is based in a village outside Cebu, where the priest also oversees a chapel, a children's Sunday school program and a squad of altar boys.

Cardinal Vidal is not available for interviews, aides said. He has not responded to written questions.
Still works with kids

The Dominicans' attorney said, the Cebu Archdiocese assured her that Monsignor Garcia would not work with youths.

Yet he began doing so immediately, said a man who worked with him as a priest in Cebu.

The former altar boy, Mr. Corral, said Monsignor Garcia used to have him act out scenes from pornographic videos in exchange for drugs.



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Another one bites the dust faint.gif

A woman who was sexually abused by seven Roman Catholic priests and had a baby by one of them received a $500,000 (339,190) settlement from America's largest archdiocese. The payment was part of a $660 million global settlement the diocese reached collectively with past abuse victims.

You have to read her story to understand why she was awarded so much money.

Per the complaint and news reports:

Rita Milla was a sixteen-year-old devout Catholic who wanted to be a nun. She admired and respected her parish priests, Fathers Santiago Tamayo and Angel Cruces, her fathers confessor. While still 16, she was seduced by Tamayo, receiving sexual advances from him in the form of physical touching in the confessional booth and also in the home of a relative of Tamayo.

After Milla turned 18, she had sexual intercourse with Tamayo and Cruces. She would later be introduced to Fathers Henry Caboang, Rubin Abaya, Sylvio Lacar, Victor Balbin and Valentine Tugade, who would also abuse her.

After Milla was impregnated by Tugade, Tamayo suggested she get an abortion. But in the end, she was sent off to Tamayo's brother here in the Philippines to have the baby in secrecy. Tamayo told her parents that Rita was going to study medicine here. Prior to the birth of the baby, Rita's mother discovered what was going on and rushed here to be with her and to bring her back to California with her baby.

When Milla returned to California and asked for the archdiocese's help, she was refused.

So she sued. And on that day, all seven of the accused priests disappeared.

Tamayo stayed in the Philippines for a while. Documents were found that showed the church urged him to stay here and mailed him checks.

The state court found that priest Tugade fathered Milla's daughter. He never expressed interest in caring for his child. Tamayo would later admit he had sex with Milla and publicly apologize for his actions.

To read more, click Milla v. Tamayo, 187 Cal.App.3d 1453 and 12/17/07 Balita.

-- Edited by Leandro at 04:12, 2007-12-22



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Priest raped a 14-year-old girl while his mother watched


On 16 October 1998, most of the national newspapers carried identical stories about a priest who allegedly raped a girl while his mother watched.

In the city of Dagupan, north of Metro Manila, Fr. Macario Apuya, SVDof the Saint Therese Parish, was accused of two criminal charges, one charge of rape and one of child abuse as defined under R. A. No. 7610. Initially referred to the local DSWD, the case was subsequently handled by Atty. Mallonga. The case had historical significance since it was the very first time that a priest was being prosecuted for pedophilia in the Philippines. Apuya was incarcerated in the Quezon City jail for almost three years during the whole time the case was on trial.

The girl told authorities that sometime October 1997, she heeded the request of the priest's mother to accompany her and the priest to Vigan, Ilocos Sur, to attend the fiesta in that town. She later found out that there was no fiesta. On the third night, the victim claimed she woke up when she felt Apuya already forcing himself on her. She failed to resist, claiming she was overwhelmed with threats on her and her siblings' lives and that his mother was silently watching her abuse. At the time, the girl was a 14-year old minor while Apuya was 52 years old. She also claimed that she had sexual intercourse with Apuya on occasions after the alleged rape.

The victim was introduced to Apuya through Malou, a 17-year old girl who would bring her to Apuya's mass and then visit him in the convent. Apuya would often take both girls out for snacks and would wander through the mall where he would buy small gifts for the victim.

The girl related that on 7 September 1997, she, Malou and another friend were stranded in Dagupan and ended up spending the night in Apuya's parish. He ushered them to his bedroom in the convent where he allegedly brought them food and wine. She also stated that Apuya had instructed them that Malou was to sleep with him on the bed, while she and her friend were to sleep on the floor. Later that night, her friend woke her up sensing something was wrong. She turned towards the bed and saw Apuya totally naked on top of an equally naked Malou. Nothing else was said among them even as they saw Apuya gave Malou PHp 300 pesos after the incident, with the latter swearing them to secrecy.

During one hearing, the defense counsel agitated the child as the former asked her repeatedly about details of the sexual abuse incident reprehensible tactic applied to one already traumatized by abuse. This led the child to walk out of the hearing. When asked by defense counsel where she was going, the child replied, "Ang pangit mo!" ("You're ugly!"). Unbelievably, the judge who heard this case decided on 20 December 2002 that this show of aggression by the child could only evidence one thing that she could have also retaliated and defended herself against Apuya's alleged abuse. He also ruled that the case could not have been possible in the first place. The judge, who is a dyed-in-the-wool Catholic, could not imagine either a clergy abusing a minor or that a cleric's mother allow and/or condone her priest son to commit such abuse. In Judge Abednego Adre's words:

" the claim that the mother of the accused asked about the complainant's menstrual cycle and if she could be used by her son borders on the incredible. No mother would do that on behalf of a son who is a priest, unless she was a pervert or out of her mind. That at the moment she was being ravished the old woman was at the doorway silently watching made the story worse. Even pagan mothers would not countenance such indecent act openly and in their presence, much more a normal, conservative mother whose cherished dream of having a son, poor as they were, spend life in the service of God and his people was already a reality."

As fittingly critiqued by Wilkinson, what appears incredible is that "an uneducated girl of 14 could make up such a story. There have been many stories in recent years of wives assisting their own husbands to rape children. To normal people, this may appear incredible, but it nevertheless has proven true."

In his decision, Judge Adre also stated that:

"Nothing of substance came out although creditably the complainant stood her ground and reiterated what she declared during the presentation of the evidence in chief of the prosecution."

This was a strange admission of the court in view of what the decision later stated:

"The glaring inconsistencies and improbabilities during the long and intense cross questioning cast serious doubts on the veracity of the accounts given and the veraciousness of the complainant."

However, the Philippine Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that variance as to the time and date of the rape do not generally diminish the complainant's credibility. This is established jurisprudence that has obviously passed the notice of Judge Adre.

Based on all this, the accused priest was acquitted of rape and child abuse charges by Judge Adre of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court. The administrative case against Apuya was rendered moot and academic by the acquittal.

The judge ended his decision with the sentence:

"The accused may have been a flirt, he might have nearly crossed the threshold of perdition but certainly he was no child molester, much less rapist."

One is left with no other choice but to agree with Wilkinson's conclusions. "The message given by the court is very clear. If your child is sexually molested or abused by a priest in the Philippines then better forget it. The church hierarchy will do nothing about it and neither will law enforcement agencies. Even if it does get to court, the accusers will be judicially insulted by being called troublemakers. It will be interesting to find out just what duties Father Apuya will be given by his church. Let us hope it does not allow him to "help" any other poor young girls."


Wilkinson, Earl K. People Priests and Pedophiles. Manila: International Research Foundation

Catholics for a Free Choice (CFFC), an NGO with special consultative status with ECOSOC, report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child that presented the worldwide problem of sexual abuse of children and adolescents by Catholic clergy and religious



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Father, Wherefore Art Thou?

Manuel Perez Maramba's life has been a constant flux between music and religion. His storied career as a concert pianist and composer took him from his native Philippines across the US, including a performance at Carnegie Hall when he was only 19.

However, it is Maramba's former role as a Catholic priest that may now tarnish his international image. A lawsuit filed against him claims Maramba repeatedly molested an 11-year-old boy while he was the priest at St. Genoveve Church in America.

Tom Gilstrap Jr., an attorney representing the Las Cruces family who filed the suit, says Maramba was recalled to the Philippines after allegations of sexual misconduct first surfaced.

"Typical of pedophile priests, he took boys camping and was a boys' group leader," Gilstrap alleges. "We don't know whether it was discovered by the diocese. We think the move back to the Philippines was as a result of these types of incidents."

The Dallas Morning News reported Catholic priests have been moved to other countries to avoid prosecution for sexual offenses, often with the help of Catholic church officials.

The lawsuit claims the Las Cruces boy, who is now a man in his late 30s, has lost earnings and received psychological treatment because of the alleged molestation by Maramba. "It's been devastating to his life," Gilstrap says. "It creates a lot of confusion, a lot of turmoil, a lot of havoc in the individual."

Maramba couldn't be reached for comment by SFR. He is still a Benedictine monk with the Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat in the Philippines, where he also is a faculty member at the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music. Maramba has composed orchestral and ballet works and several operas, including The Blessed Lord--Ukon Takayama, which premiered a few years ago in Japan and the Philippines.

To read original article, click here.



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Oh, by the way, it is no longer just a sex abuse scandal.

In the Bacolod Diocese there have been scandals involving priests who absconded with hundreds of thousands of pesos. Including, in one instance, bringing along one of the female devotees as "wife".

These cases have been swept under the rug. Not only by local parishioners, but including those abroad. Once, one of these pastors reportedly ended up almost charged for failure to pay his San Francisco hotel bills. Another Filipino rushed to his rescue and averted a major embarrassment.

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